Merkel Blasts US Diplomat’s Anti EU Comment

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed outrage over a leaked phone conversation in which a senior US diplomat used an expletive to dismiss the EU’s handling of the Ukrainian crisis.

Merkel Blasts US Diplomat’s Anti EU Comment

"The chancellor considers this statement absolutely unacceptable...and wants to emphasize again that (EU foreign policy chief Catherine) Ashton is doing an outstanding job," Merkel's spokeswoman said on Friday.

"The European Union will continue with its intensive efforts to calm the situation in Ukraine."

Washington's new top diplomat for Europe, Victoria Nuland, apologized on Thursday for the contents of the leaked conversation, though she offered no further elaboration during a press conference in Kiev on Friday.

“I will not comment on a private diplomatic conversation," she told reporters in Kiev, after talks with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and opposition leaders, RT reported.

"It was pretty impressive tradecraft," she added in what has been viewed as indirect confirmation of the recording’s authenticity. “Audio quality was very good."

Merkel's spokeswoman, Christiane Wirtz, offered scant details regarding whether Nuland’s apology had been received, telling the Berlin Press Conference that "contact was made with the chancellery."

A German foreign ministry spokesman used suspicion that Russia was behind the leak to take a pot shot at the United States for its own sweeping surveillance programs, which included Merkel’s mobile phone.

“This shows you that eavesdropping is stupid," he said.

Western officials have widely blamed Russia for bugging Nuland’s phone, with Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt taking a swipe at Moscow via twitter.

“Tapping phone calls and releasing carefully selected bits to support propaganda efforts is an age-old method by some type of regimes," wrote Bildt.

Earlier, Jen Psaki said if Russians were responsible for recording and releasing the private diplomatic conversation, it would be “a new low in Russian tradecraft.”

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